Well, The Donald is back with 18 eager wannabe’s for season 4 of The Apprentice. The show begins with a montage of candidates disembarking planes, hailing cabs and negotiating street traffic in the pursuit of their first meeting with Donald Trump and the longest interview process known to man, 13 weeks. I can’t help but think that this is a not only extremely intelligent and talented bunch but they are easy on the eyes as well.
Donald tells us that he has assembled the cream of the crop and probably the best field yet. He is anxious to meet them all as they gather in New Jersey at Trump National Golf Club and George and Carolyn will be joining them as well. Donald has some unexpected surprises for the candidates this time.
We see the usual shots of Trump in his limo talking to us and heading off to his helicopter and the familiar line, “Who will succeed? Who will fail? And who will be The Apprentice?” Then the blare of “MONEY, MONEY, MONEY, MONNNNEY … MONNNNEY” and The Apprentice is off and running. Gee, I am already sucked right back in. I will dispense with giving a rundown of every person. There are so many people and you will find out who gets the most airtime or at least who has the best one-liners right away. So let’s get down to business.
Taxis race along the road of Trump National Golf Club. Each candidate is welcomed by a valet and told to wait for Mr. Trump. There are babes, hunks, an openly gay guy (he tells us), lawyers, self-made millionaires, and one really short man. They are shown to Donald, Carolyn and George out on a grassy area. Donald introduces them to Carolyn and George. Might I add that Carolyn looks decidedly softer with longer hair and she is smiling as well. The Donald immediately separates the men and the women. Donald’s reasoning is that it is often difficult to tell people apart and this will make it easier. He instructs each team to pick a name and a project manager (PM). One change from the past is that the winning team’s project manager is not automatically exempt from elimination the following week. The winning team will vote to determine if an exemption will be granted. OOOHHHH, it could get ugly.
Donald gives the teams their assignment. He is a big proponent of physical fitness and the teams will be working with Bally Fitness to come up with a new fitness plus workout class. The team that makes the most money wins. One wrinkle … there are two gym locations; one in Spanish Harlem and the other in a more upscale area in Chelsea Park. There is a helicopter somewhere on the grounds of the golf course and whoever finds it first will be able to take two team members back to the city and scout out the locations. This is a huge advantage. It is a race of epic proportions. Donald gives the “go” and they are off running. The men are on foot but some of the women decide to take a golf cart. Other women are still on foot and throwing their high heels in every direction. It is a race to the finish and the men win.
Words to live by: Can’t we all just get along?
Donald says that the key to success is to be able to get along with others … which definitely is the theme of this week’s episode.
The men are in the vans heading back to the city minus Brian and Josh who are in the chopper. The men are all talking but it becomes apparent that Markus wants to take control of the decisions. One of the men appoints him as project manager and right away Markus puts his hands up and shrinks from this appointment. This doesn’t go well with the others. Brian and Josh choose the posh area off 6th Avenue and meet with Matt the Bally manager.
Meanwhile in the women’s van, Kristi is appointed project manager. They arrive at the first gym location and find the men already there. They are disappointed with their location but once they are inside they realize that this gym is bustling with activity. The ladies make the rounds of asking the patrons what they are willing to pay for a workout class. Once the team assembles in a meeting room, they discuss prices. Melissa, who is of Hispanic descent, is adamant that the clientele will not pay more than $15 for a class. She feels that 98% of the exercisers are Hispanic and she knows what they want. This is met with 8 pairs of rolling eyes and stares. Melissa will not let anyone else have an opinion other than her own because she knows these people and they will talk honestly to her because she is Hispanic. Kristi finally curtails Melissa’s tirade and gets the team back on task.
Back at the men’s camp, Markus is a bit frazzled. He is definitely having a difficult time making split second decisions like how long should the classes be: 30 minutes or 45 minutes? How much should they charge? Every few moments he shouts, “Hold on a second, guys!” Then the most humorous interruption was in the midst of the discussion Markus stops everyone and asks, “I want to stop right now, since we are at this juncture. Is there anything that I could be or should be doing better?” He is met with a mixture of exasperation and blank stares. You have got to be kidding me. Josh is quick to point out that he doubts that Mr. Trump stops meetings to ask if there is any way that he can be better. Point taken.
Back at the suite, we see Randal on a telephone call alone. He has just found out from his wife that his maternal grandmother has passed away. He feels very torn because he wants to be with his family but he is also just beginning this journey. He confides in the men who are very supportive and compassionate. He is having a difficult time being in the moment because of what just happened.
The next morning, the women hit the street to market the workout. Alla feels that it is going to be a tough sale but that their team is so into it that this may give them the edge. The class is a combination of pilates, kick boxing and abdominal work. It is called Triple Threat with 3 X’s between the two words (TRIPLEXXXTHREAT). Once Marshawn sees the design she immediately thinks that it has a connotation to a strip club and doesn’t like this and feels that the project manager Kristi has made a bad decision. Melissa is hanging around the front of the club complaining about the organization or lack thereof. She is trying to rally support from the other team members. When anyone asks her anything, she laughs and says that Kristi has not made any decisions.
Chris says the men are focusing on the current members of Bally’s. Their class is The Rush Half Hour Class. It will include kick boxing, abdominal work and yoga. Chris feels that since the members are already going to Bally’s that half the battle is won. Markus gets a call from Donald and he asks how it’s going and if they have come up with a team name yet. Markus tells him that they will be called Excel and goes into a lengthy discourse on the reasoning. Donald appears a bit bored. We see Donald talking to someone and expressing that “this guy talks a lot”. As Markus keeps chatting up The Donald about why he is the project manager, Donald tells him that he can stop talking now. Tee Hee.
Donald talks to Kristi and she tells him their name is Capital Edge because they want to make money and they are going to do it with an edge. Donald says to tell the team that this is an interesting name. Their conversation is brief and to the point … Markus should take note. Carolyn is watching what is happening with Capital Edge. Melissa is talking to Carolyn and telling her how disorganized this assignment is going and that she is doing “everything”. Carolyn pushes her on this and she backs down and says that she is not doing everything. The other team members are furious with Melissa and Alla says that she can’t believe that Melissa is not aware that they need to be working as a team regardless of the outcome of the assignment and it is way out of line to be badmouthing Kristi to Carolyn. Kristi pulls Melissa aside and tells her to stop the negative energy and to get back to work and that she will be reassigned to a different area. This of course does not sit well with Melissa.
Randal is trying hard to focus on the task at hand but he misses his grandmother and family, but he knows that she is in a better place and that she would want him to take this opportunity. Markus feels that this competition is going to be too close to call. I would agree because it doesn’t seem like many people are in the classes and one of them is Markus. For Capital Edge, Kristi choreographed the workouts and the class has worked up a heavy sweat. Time to shower up and meet in the board room for the results.
The mood is tense as usual. George reports that Capital Edge focused on the “man on the street” and they earned $516. Carolyn says that Excel also did a good job and they keyed in on the existing membership of Bally Fitness. They had a total earnings of $527. Donald announces that the winning team will go to the Friar’s Club where Donald was roasted recently. They will be having lunch together. Markus is then told that the team will vote for whether he should have exemption or not. Right away the men say that they don’t feel that it is right to give someone an exemption to have a leg up on the others. Donald asks for a vote and only two people vote to give Markus the exemption, therefore he will not be exempt next week should Excel Corporation lose. Donald tells Capital Edge Corporation that he will see them in the board room and he then dismisses everyone but asks that Randal stay behind.
Donald says that he would completely understand if he wanted to step down because he realizes that Randal was very close to his grandmother. Randal says that his grandfather said that he should stay because it is what his grandmother would have wanted and that he will remain and try to embody her spirit. Donald agrees and says that a helicopter is waiting to take him to be with his family and to attend her funeral as he feels that this is important for him to do. It was a nice touching moment in the midst of big business … Randal looks like he could use a hug so it is good to know that this will be coming soon for him.
At the Friar’s Club, Markus sees this as his opportunity to get close to Mr. Trump and so he takes the lunch time chat to talk himself up on his prowess as project manager. Donald turns to Josh and asks if he always talks this much and Josh replies yes but that he can give him the Cliff Notes … ooohhhh, a dig. Markus turned a bit pale.
Back at the suite, the women are trying to figure out who should go home. Melissa is trying to rally the troops against Kristi and Kristi is doing the same.
Capital Edge enters the board room and the mood is somber. Donald asks Kristi why they lost. Kristi says that they only lost by $11 and Trump counters that it was still a loss. Before Kristi can continue, Melissa jumps in and says that it was all a marketing problem and that was Kristi’s fault. Carolyn points out the flyer with the XXX and she is not pleased. Kristi says that it was not originally laid out like this but it was returned from the printer this way. Carolyn says that they are going to make her sweat if she thinks this is appropriate to market this as women. Melissa snickers and says that the reason that they lost was because of poor marketing and then she continues to call Kristi every bad noun in the book and not let anyone talk.
Finally Alla steps in and says that there was only one reason that they lost and that was because of one person’s negativity. That at the end of the day it takes 100% of the team to win and Melissa caused them to lose focus. They lost by one cell and that cell was Melissa. Now the women start to get bolder and more and more start to say that Melissa was the reason that they lost. Melissa is flabbergasted and looks like she might cry. Melissa is called out on saying that she lacked respect for Kristi. Melissa’s only defense was that Kristi gets under her skin. Donald abruptly stops the madness and asks Kristi which two people are to join her in the board room. Kristi asks if she can just bring one … Donald pauses and says yes. She asks to bring in Melissa.
It had to be a relief to be one of the women riding in the elevator on their way to the luxury suite instead of Melissa and Kristi trying to keep their composure waiting on the couch and not tearing each other’s hair out. Donald asks George and Carolyn their opinions.
George feels that it is obvious Melissa is a disruptive force on the team. Carolyn feels that Melissa is disruptive but she does take issue with Kristi’s marketing technique. The women are called back in.
Melissa goes first and says that she is positive and hard working. She was wrong to allow Kristi to get under her skin. Kristi says that Melissa had enough negativity to affect just one person in the wrong way and that was all it took for them to lose. Melissa begins to feel caged and this is where silence could have been golden but … it was not to be. Melissa starts to back pedal. She says that everyone said in the board room that they all acknowledged her. Trump interjects to say that they all said they wanted to get rid of her! Ooops! Melissa says no, they all said that she was negative. Hmmm, I am not sure that is helping your case, Melissa. She then goes on to say that she has a difficult time working with women and they all feel intimidated by her. Kristi is a weak link and she and the rest want to get rid of her. Trump asks her why women are intimidated by her. She says that it is because she is beautiful, smart and competitive. Carolyn smirks a bit. Trump reminds Melissa that Kristi is a beauty queen and wonders if she felt intimidated by Melissa. Melissa said no that she was one of the few people that was not. Huh? Carolyn wants to know if Melissa is saying that she can’t work well with women. Carolyn wonders if she has a shot at working with a team full of women. Melissa says that she can do it although it may be hard at the beginning. Trump jumps in and says that everyone felt that she was a negative force. He is not pleased with Kristi’s approach, it was the worst, but Melissa can’t get along with anyone. So therefore…
Melissa, you are fired!
Trump tells Kristi that she should not be proud of herself. Kristi and Melissa both leave the board room with heads hanging a bit lower.
Carolyn says that from Melissa’s own mouth she said she couldn’t work with women. Sometimes it just doesn’t pay to open your mouth.
The ovation at the suite is overwhelming at Kristi’s return. Melissa is sporting a smile in the cab and says that she is not surprised that she is the first to leave. She is glad because she would rather leave first then 5th or 7th. She would rather leave first or last … okay, now we see how your logic got you booted first.
Well gang, it looks like we are in for a lot of fun this time around. I hope you will take the ride to the finish with me. Hopefully we will get to know more of the team members.
What are your thoughts on the first episode? E-mail me at Helen@realityshack.com.
See you next week!